Alum Valerie Oppelaar: Writer On The Rise

Alum Valerie Oppelaar: Writer On The Rise

Sarah Kearsley

Since graduating from Hawthorne High School in 2010, alum, Valerie Oppelaar, has been pursuing her dream to become a professional writer.

Upon leaving HHS, Oppelaar began attending William Paterson University to major in English Writing and Public Relations, with a minor in English Literature. Oppelaar began her writing career by joining the staff of William Paterson’s undergraduate literary magazine, Zeitgeist. This magazine gives students an opportunity to showcase their poems, short stories, and graphic art. Oppelaar is now the editor of this magazine; this position involves figuring out which pieces to enter into the magazine, editing and formatting, and managing workers and cost. Although it is hard work, she truly enjoys the job. “There are a lot of jobs that go into [being editor], but I love it all! I love reading something new and exciting, which is the best part about Zeitgeist,” she said.

Oppelaar was recently offered an internship in the communication/public relations branch of the world famous pharmaceutical corporation, Johnson & Johnson. With this opportunity, she will be helping the Johnson & Johnson team write a weekly newsletter for employees. In addition, she will be assisting the communication team with certain long-term projects. This accomplishment is one to be very proud of and offers her a great opportunity to truly delve into the field of writing.

Oppelaar’s deep interest in the subject of reading and writing is what helped guide her to the career path she is leading. During her sophomore year at HHS, Oppelaar really began to get in touch with her love for English class. Ultimately, she believes that her experience at HHS helped guide and prepare her for her future career in writing. She said, “I took AP classes my junior and senior year while making some great friends and having some great teachers along the way. I worked hard my four years there, and I can honestly say that it has helped me in the long run to be a more driven and well-rounded person.”